Tesla Model S Crashes into a Gym, Driver Claims Sudden Unintended Acceleration

Model S Crashing through gym 6 photos
Photo: YouTube screenshot
Tesla busting through gym front doorTesla busting through gym front doorTesla busting through gym front doorTesla busting through gym front doorTesla busting through gym front door
Back in 2011, Toyota went through a nasty patch when some of its vehicles started suffering from a disease called Sudden Unintended Acceleration. In other words, the cars wanted to go faster and did everything they could to make sure it happened.
All the drivers had to do to prevent that was to hit the brakes, put the car in Neutral and bring it to a safe stop. But depending on when the unexpected thrust happened, things could get slightly more complicated than that. That's partly how you can explain the 16 deaths and 243 injuries associated with the over 2,000 reported incidents. Unlike Volkswagen's Dieselgate, the fallout from Toyota's scandal was surprisingly limited, with the Japanese brand cruising on top of the world's sales chart at the moment.

Three months ago, it was Tesla's turn to face charges of sudden unintended acceleration. It happened to a Model X driver in Irvine, California, who was trying to park his car, but instead of stopping, he accelerated and rolled into a building. Fortunately, there were no casualties.

After investigating the vehicle's logs, Tesla declared it was the driver's fault since it could determine that the accelerator pedal was pressed. The incident ended there, but now, another very similar case has emerged, this time in Florida and involving a Model S.

The CCTV footage inside a gym shows the electric sedan attempting to park right in front of the building. With the maneuver all but complete, the car appears to accelerate for no reason and crashes into the front door. Just like in California, nobody was hurt.

The incident took place on the 9th of August, but it has only just now captured the media attention thanks to Electrek. The website reports that a post of the car's owner on the Tesla Forum has been removed since, but its content had been salvaged: “I have owned several Model S Tesla’s and currently own 1 P85D and 1 P90D. Recently, my wife experienced a near fatal accident when she was slowly parking at her gym. The car violently exploded into full acceleration and could have easily killed people in the gym.

It turns out the owner's wife was driving at the moment of the incident, and their initial reaction was to blame the car for what happened. They further expressed their distaste at the way Tesla dealt with their situation: “I am amazed and wildly disappointed by the way Tesla has handled this and their complete unwillingness to even talk to me about it. Of course, they immediately blamed it on the driver and claimed their online computer tells them that.”

At the same time, he also said this: “Of course, it is possible that there could have been driver error, but we do not feel that is what has occurred and wanted to have it looked further into.” This last bit raises some questions: are they sure it wasn't driver error or not? I mean, it's not that hard: there are two pedals - even if you flip a coin, you'll be right in half cases.

Just like in California, Tesla analyzed the data and came to the conclusion that it was indeed the case of a driver's error. In a statement sent to Electrek, a spokesperson said: “Tesla’s cars do not accelerate without the driver instructing it to do so. In every situation where we have received a customer claim about this, the vehicle’s diagnostic logs have confirmed that the acceleration was the result of the driver pressing the accelerator pedal.”

We tend to agree with this assessment. Think about it: in both instances, the acceleration did not occur out of the blue, but at the exact moment the driver was supposed to press the brake pedal. That could, of course, be a coincidence, but add that to the Tesla's response and the doubt expressed by the Florida driver's husband, and you have a pretty strong case against Teslas suffering from sudden unintended acceleration.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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